React Native vs Ionic is a comparative look at two of the most popular UI building frameworks for mobile apps in 2019.
React Native is also an open source mobile application framework used to build apps for iOS, Android, Web and UWP. It is used to enable developers to use React with native platform capabilities. React Native is like React but it uses native components instead of web components.
Ionic offers complete SDK to build hybrid apps, aiming to use a single codebase to run on multiple platforms while the goal of React Native is to leverage “learn once, write anywhere” theory. React Native adopts the native behavior and standards of the platforms and hence, gives seamless native experience. This framework has thousands of mobile apps built using Ionic so far.
|Purpose||Learn once, write everywhere||Write once, run everywhere|
|Code testing||Need a real mobile device or emulator to test app||Using any browser, the code can be tested|
|Mobile app type||Cross-platform native like||Hybrid apps|
|UI Elements||Native Components||Web UI components|
|Compilation||Interpreter/IIT||JIT with WKWebView/JIT|
|Use Cases||Facebook Skype Bloomberg||Pacifica MarketWatch McLaren Automotive|
Ionic allows you to use HTML/CSS/JS to build iOS and Android apps, PWA’s, desktop apps or apps that run on any platform that the web runs on.
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React Native utilizes the JS framework React, but renders native UI elements at runtime allowing you to build iOS and Android apps. React Native is not only for iOS and Android platforms because there are community supported projects that bring it to other platforms. For example, React Native macOS is an experimental Native fork that is targeting macOS and Cocoa.
Here is a list of testing tools for React Native:
One of the attractive features of Jest is the snapshot testing.
Detox is an end-to-end testing library which is used to test apps built using React Native. It tests mobile apps while it is running on a simulator or a real mobile device and interacts with it like a real user.
Cypress offers real-time reloads. Whenever there are changes in the code, Cypress will automatically reload.
Enzyme is used to test React components by checking the output.
Ionic is based on Cordova which relies on a WebView component which uses a HTML layout engine to render a HTML/ CSS user interface.
- Replacing Collection-Repeat – Replace collection-repeat with ng-repeat can reduce stutter when used with native scrolling.
- Defining Class Methods – Defining class methods for each instance of bazBar is inefficient.
- Compression – Remove unnecessary characters, compress images and files as compactly as possible to reduce load times.
- Asynchronous Transfer – Large apps can be loaded in stages when loading big data takes too long. Use software like Blaze FEO or Riverbed StingRay Aptimizer to optimie content based on Google’s performance rules.
- Instance Variable Declaration – Placing the instance variable declaration variable on the prototype with value type instead of reference prevents running the initialization code each time the constructor is accessed.
- Content Delivery Networks – CDNs include services that reduce network latency and speed up apps with various techniques like network routing optimization. CDN networks include Amazon CloudFront, Limelight, Akamai, Edgecast and telecommunications companies like AT&T and Level3.
When choosing React Native vs Ionic, you may want to consider the technology stack as the dominant factor. React Native offers benefits that Ionic does not offer but Ionic has features that React Native lacks. Let us look at the pros and cons of each of these technologies.
- Ability to target multiple platforms with less native code
- One framework, multiple platforms
- Strong, Open-Source Community
- Cost: Free of Charge for both personal and commercial
- Available templates and starter kits to cut development times
- Code and UI limitations
- Requires a savvy team to keep abreast of changes in technology and features
- Single codebase across multiple platforms
- Extensive UI elements and prototyping
- Strong community
- Performance lacking with native applications
- Plug-in dependency
- Absence of hot loading
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